NBA media days are usually filled with rose-colored glasses, clichés and unwarranted optimism. The Sixers managed to cast a black cloud over their session yesterday by announcing newly-acquired center — and franchise savior — Andrew Bynum has been shut down for three weeks.
Bynum, who underwent Orthokine therapy in Germany on both of his knees during the third week of September, began feeling a bit uncomfortable a few days ago. The Sixers and a specialist in New York examined him and discovered a bone bruise on his right knee. He’ll only do strength training, light shooting and walk-throughs for the next three weeks, giving himself seven days to get ready for the season opener on Oct. 31.
“It’s definitely disappointing,” Bynum said. “It is what it is. At this point, I need to go out and work on my craft. I should be able to do that.”
Coach Doug Collins conceded that the inability to mix Bynum in during training camp will be a challenge to the revamped team’s chemistry. The first time Bynum steps on the floor with his new teammates for a game won’t be until that opener, at the earliest.
“Nobody’s more disappointed than Andrew,” Collins said. “I spoke to him the other day and he was so chomping at the bit to come in here and live up to all the expectations.”
The development wouldn’t be as concerning if it wasn’t for Bynum’s history. He’s missed 154 games over the last five seasons, mostly due to knee issues. In 2008, he dislocated a kneecap. In 2009, he tore his right MCL. Following the 2010 season, he needed surgery to clean up soreness.
“I feel a lot better [than I did earlier in my career],” Bynum said. “The Orthokine is definitely working. There hasn’t been swelling in my knees. Everybody that has this procedure goes through this, having to get their legs strong and get back out there on the court.”
Thaddeus Young used the offseason to bulk up. After ending last year at 215 lbs., he’s up to 234. Young wants a chance to compete for the vacant starting wing job, but his most-likely role will be at the small and power forward spots off the bench.
If Bynum is out, the Sixers do have some depth in the pivot with Kwame Brown, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen. Prior to the Bynum trade, Collins hinted that Brown would start at center and Hawes would slide in as the “stretch four.”
Sixers pick up option on head coach
Majority owner Josh Harris announced yesterday that the option in Doug Collins’ contract has been picked up, as reported in the Aug. 16 edition of Metro.
Collins will now be with the team at least through the 2013-14 season. He also said he hopes to stay with the team in a front-office role once he’s done coaching.
“I think it’s important for the perception of the players,” Collins said. “They understand that you’re the coach and that you’re going to be there. It’s tough to be in a lame duck situation.”